Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Los Penasquitos Canyon Trail

Hiking @ Los Penasquitos Canyon

Last weekend was our first time to hike at Los Penasquitos Preserve and Park. I wonder why we never hiked this trail before. But I am glad that at least we were able to finally find another nature park that feels like an escape from civilization, yet, still is within San Diego City limits and very near the comforts of home. 

The hike here can be as short or as long, depending on anyone's interests. One can hike at the vast open space ( canyon's meadows) or in the rich oak woodland lining the Penasquitos Creek.
Rich Riparian Habitat in Penasquitos Canyon
There are trails for hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders. Mountain bikers however are not allowed in single track trails which is the trail we took by the creek side. Single track trails are intended only for hikers and some parts are shared with horseback riders. The double track trails for mountain bikers are in the wide open space, but can also be used by hikers and horseback riders. I am sure my trail of choice at spring would be the vast open space (meadows), when it would be filled with wildflowers. 

There are many access points at Los Penasquitos Canyon, the most popular one is probably the East access at Black Mountain Road, which is 3.5 mile to the Penasquitos waterfall ( very small waterfall), 7 miles round trip hike. Here's a link to the map so you could identify the closest access point from your place, depending on which part of San Diego you are coming from. 

Let me share with you a short video of our hike, coming out from the woods to the volcanic rock:

We chose the trail that meanders along the creek because of two reasons:
1. It is in the middle of woodlands, so we have a lot of shade. I know, by spring, probably, I would choose the open space when the meadows are filled with wildflowers. I can't wait for spring.
2. We will have greater chances of seeing wildlife. But sadly, we hiked middle of the day, that is not probably the best time to see wildlife. We did see a lot of woodpeckers though.
Acorn Woodpeckers
The Holes in this Oak were the work of woodpeckers, that's where they store their acorns

Acorn Woodpeckers live in large groups. They are fascinating to watch making noise on the tree, making holes, burying their acorns. They store thousands of acorns each year by jamming them into specially made holes in trees. A group member is always on alert to guard the hoard from thieves, while others race fly in ( to deliver acorn) and out ( to find more acorns ). Thus, we call the tree with a lot of buried acorns as "woodpecker's oak tree".
What I like about walking in the middle of the woods, aside from the shade, the trees, the creek, the ponds,
is that the surprise of seeing volcanic rocks all of a sudden, as if, "where did all these rocks come from, and why were they all in just one spot of Penasquitos Canyon?" The fun part of the hiking actually started on this portion where we had to scramble on rocks. 
@ Penasquitos waterfall cascading through volcanic rock
Though the waterfall is small, but what made it feel special was the over-all beauty of the canyon which is within city limits. We need not really travel far to enjoy the relaxing gifts of nature. I am glad a friend encouraged me to take this trail, now, we know of another place to escape the hustle and bustle of San Diego City life. I am glad to be living in a city with so many nature escapes. I remember what the son of my visiting friend before told me when I could not give him specific answer how San Diego city got its name. He said: "tita, San Diego should be called 'mountainous beach city'!" He was amazed by the many hills around San Diego. The name "los penasquitos" actually means "many hills." Had I known of the meaning of los penasquitos before, I could have told him, "that's why we have a nature preserve named los penasquitos."

Will experiencing Penasquitos Canyon change my list of Top Ten San Diego hikes? Maybe not, but I am so glad to learn of another hiking trail in San Diego. 
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  1. wow! glad you found another breathtaking place to explore Beth! i am starting to consider SD as a retirement place, but i wonder if M and I still have strength to hike by then. :P

  2. I don't know if my last comment went through as I am experiencing glitches with blogger.

    Very glad you found this beautiful place to enjoy the wonder of nature, Betchai!

  3. What a beautiful place, I love the fall colors! How interesting to see the woodpecker's oak tree.

  4. All the views are amazing, I envy you of seeing that place in person how I wish to see such a beauty as well.

  5. Lovely places indeed...well, you're very lucky about visiting these places in the canyon.

  6. I wish I can hike places like this, even if just once in my life.

  7. Wow! Nice view, very calming. Perfect spot for bird watching too.

  8. l love the holes in the oak :) finding inspiration here to write. I think my brain is fried these days. Looking at the beauty of Penasquitos canyon and reading your words make me feel blessed with the gift of nature and grateful for friends like you. Those volcanic rocks amazes me and the thought of the small waterfall is refreshing. ♡

  9. Very interesting, isn't it wonderful when you find new nature place or park where you know that you'll enjoy and will eventually goes back there in the future? I'm so jealous that you guys have the chance to enjoy nature, we can't as our season here is just not into nature when we have winter...

  10. You really are my go-to-gal for trekking and hiking stuff and if I want to see more of your area, I'll just visit your blog and I feel like I am already being transported where you are in those lovely snaps.

    I've seen some woodpeckers in action while visiting San Diego. I love the way they peck on those trees and the sound is so captivating.

  11. I agree, even if the waterfall is small, the whole place looks fabulous. Thanks for taking us along with you in this trip. It's been months since we last do our hiking.

  12. That’s an awesome place. Great adventure. I hope I can visit that one day.

  13. Wow! another beautiful hiking trail right in San Diego your place Sis :-) You are very inspiring and how I wish we are neighbors coz I would love to go hiking with you :-)

  14. The view of the surroundings is just awesome. Wish I could see those woodpeckers. Hanggang maya at pipit lang ako.

  15. Glitches! I experienced this for many times with blogger.

    Anyhow, there is no problem to enjoy your beautiful pictures.

  16. What a great hike and photo op! Nice meeting you. :) ~Curious as a CAThy

  17. I love the shots, Ms. Betchai, as always! Stress-reliever! Kahit sa screen ko lang napanood, I can feel the serenity as I imagine myself trekking with you! :)

  18. You are lucky that you are surrounded by these beautiful nature trails. I love hiking but our trail is just the jogging lane beside the riverbanks.

  19. It even has a waterfall. That's my kind of place.

  20. Me encanta! I would love to go trail or hike...the farthest I went is wall climbing, lol! Thanks for sharing your views of los Penasquitos!

  21. That tree is pretty special, reminds me of my speckles.